Women confronting loss and damage in Africa

ActionAid UK’s new report looks at the impacts of climate change-induced loss and damage on women at risk of marginalisation in four African countries: Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda and Zambia.

It explores the gendered experiences of loss and damage; how loss and damage is curtailing women’s rights; the barriers that women are facing to be able to respond to and deal with loss and damages; and how women on the frontlines of the climate crisis are overcoming these barriers.

Executive summary

In 2022, the losses and damages caused by climate change are escalating faster than predicted and with increasingly devastating consequences. With the Horn of Africa close to famine due to drought, 100,000 people displaced by floods in Nigeria, and 30 million in Pakistan affected by severe flooding, a resolution on Loss and Damage is urgently needed.

Climate change-induced losses and damages affect everyone, but not equally, and climate justice can only be achieved when based on the foundations of gender justice.

Women living in rural communities at risk of economic marginalisation in the Global South – who bear the least responsibility for greenhouse gas emissions – are experiencing the worst impacts of the climate crisis and the greatest losses and damages. Despite this, women on the frontlines of the climate crisis are leading climate change responses and are central to effective climate action.

This report explores the lived experiences of women navigating the challenges of climate-related losses and damages, as well as the role they are playing in building climate resilience on the frontlines of the climate crisis. The research takes a climate justice and feminist approach and makes space for a Southern-led perspective to argue that a systemic and transformational approach to loss and damage is needed that shifts power, safeguards women’s rights and enables women to lead. The report reflects on these findings with a series of recommendations for loss and damage climate policy in 2022 and beyond.